With several states have lost patience with Congress not making an effort to fix the broken immigration system in a timely manner, some such as Arizona have enacted their own controversial immigration laws. These laws have backfired as many businesses are suffering from the ill effects of an economic downturn and these states are having difficulties attracting new business.
The “Show me your papers” provision enforced in Arizona that allows law enforcement to stop anyone who looks suspicious and ask for proof of residency has businesses and local individuals very uncomfortable. States that do not embrace an immigrant friendly culture prevent investors from wanting to experience opportunities that the state may have to offer. Phoenix officials blame this law completely for the slowdown in business activity. Since 2009, city projects have slowed significantly with a 30 percent decrease in bookings at a popular convention center and created a revenue loss of about $132 million. “Meanwhile, other cities with comparable convention facilities, including San Diego, Denver, San Antonio and Salt Lake City, have experienced a different trend. In those locales, guest counts are slowly rebounding or relatively flat.[...]”
City officials as well as businesses fear that others view their culture as one that does not value diversity and business convention groups have decided to move to different states with less strict laws. The specific losses associated with the results of the “show me your papers” provision of the Arizona law are difficult to track, but based off interviews with various firms, the hesitation in conducting business in Arizona’s area because of the law has been a repeated concern.
The economic losses associated with the law were predicted back in 2010 by the Center for American Progress which estimated about $141 million in revenues losses in the first few months after the passing of the law. “It also estimated that, “Arizona businesses will lose $76 million in direct revenue from decisions not to book in Arizona in the future.” These estimates are proving true.” There are several other factors that may contribute to the downturn of business activity and success in areas with stricter immigration laws; however, enforcing provisions similar to the “show me your paper” law certainly does not help.
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